Visa hell in Lima Day 23

Traditionally dressed Quechua girl, Lima, Peru

Our sole purpose for being in Lima is to secure Christi a visa for Bolivia.  However, the United Sates and Bolivia are currently engaged in a childish spat over visitor requirements.  The US imposed an expensive ($135) tourist visa fee to deter ‘undesirable’ Bolivians from entering America and basically staying illegally.  The Bolivian government was so outraged at this perceived slur that they imposed a similarly punitive fee on American visitors.  When governments collide it’s always the ordinary people who pay the price.

The Bolivian Embassy in Lima has strict requirements for visa applications and unless the paperwork is completed correctly ahead of time you will be denied access to the consular office.  And since I’m British and don’t need a visa I’m not even allowed to accompany Christi into the office.  Instead, I kick my heels out on the street.   Sadly, Christi is given a rough time by an officious prick masquerading as a representative of the Bolivian government and her visa application is denied.  She’s told to try again at the border, but there’s no guarantee it will be issued there either.

Speaking of visas and passports, here’s a fast fact for you.  Prior to World War I people rarely required a passport to travel.  Indeed, it wasn’t until 1920 that the modern passport came into being and it took until 1980 to produce a standardized machine-readable design.  Not a lot of people know that.

Another downside to Lima as far as I am concerned is the truly horrendous levels of pollution.  The worst we have experienced so far.  I don’t mean to harp on about this because I know every city has its issues, but as I wander around, I have the physical sensation of swallowing solid lumps of pollution and when I blow my nose the tissue is black with soot.  Lima’s only redeeming feature is its eclectic mix of people.

After a miserable day in miserable Lima, we seek solace at Hooters restaurant, only to find it lacks the voluptuous menu of its North American counterpart.  So sad.

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